Thursday, July 26, 2012

Watching, Wading and Wanting for more

Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to try a new location with a couple of fellow WKFA bretheren, Darren and Dan.  The plan was to launch after sunrise, fish for a few hours and leave before an approaching storm cell caught us off guard.  My son had been asking to catch some speckled trout again, so I told him here was his chance.  He just didn't realize that joining me would mean getting up at 4am in the morning and leaving amidst some drizzle and rain.  We met up with Darren and learned that Dan was already on the water.

We made our way to the launch amidst the morning showers and finally arrived to an overcast sky with more rain fast approaching.  We unloaded fairly quickly and made our way out to the inlet.  The winds were up and blowing out of the NNE at a pretty good clip, so the track out to our primary fishing spot was a little challenging once we made the turn and headed into the teeth of the wind.  It was blowing so strong, I had to hold the bow handle on my son's Tarpon 100 in order for him to keep up with Darren and I.  We got into position and noticed right away that the birds were dive bombing the surface chasing the finger mullet busting all over the place.  Darren quickly setup his anchor and started casting.

I positioned our kayaks about 20 yards from shore on the opposite side of Darren on an incoming tide and told my son to make a cast into the breaking surf and work his jig back to him bouncing it up and down. I had pre-tied a basic 1/4oz. round jig head and rigged it with a 4" chartreuse Gulp Mullet.  My son was using the spiining combo I had bought him last year - a 6'3" Shimano Crucial Medium Fast spinning rod paired to a Shimano 2500 Sienna spooled with 20lb. Power Pro and a 15lb. P-Line Flouroclear leader.  A few short hops and fish on!  Nothing of any size, but it was a momentus occasion nevertheless - it was my son's first redfish, albeit a rat red at only 8".  It was still cool to finally get him on a new saltwater fish he had never seen before in person.
The wind and waves slamming the kayaks broadside was pretty rough there for a bit, when combined with the driving rain we were fishing in, taking photos was a bit sketchy at times.  My son quickly became a little frustrated with the rain and feeling of instability being tossed about out there, so after he had landed a few fish - two redfish and a croaker, I manuevered us over to the shore and beached the kayaks and waded the rest of the time we were there.  Unfortunately it placed me out of the prime spot for the larger specks, but I was still able to get some action during our short outing.  His last redfish slammed his jighead so hard, it almost felt like a larger fish.  In actuality, it was another rat red that had deep hooked himself pretty good, but I was able to work the jighead through the last gill plate and cut the barb off with my small bolt cutters.  I kept refreshing the fish in the water until I could get everything situated to get him unhooked.  The red was released no worse for wear.

I had rigged up mine in a similar fashion, except I opted for my preferred casting combo - a 6'8" St. Croix Medium Fast AVID paired to my favorit reel, my Abu Garcia Revo Inshore spooled with 30lb PowerPro and the same P-Line 15lb. Flouroclear leader.  I had tied on my favorite Marsh Works Bull Red 1/4oz. jig head and even tried a couple varieties of the Marsh Works Bayou Thumpers, but the chartreuse Gulp ended up being the best lure of the day.  I landed my first redfish as well shortly before we beached, so we both had a redfish to our credit for the day.

I kept fishing the incoming current while my son played on the beach looking for shells and other signs of life.  Shortly after casting, I hooked into my first speckled trout of the day - a nice little 15 1/4" fighter.
Followed by another speck, and another and another - all in the 12-14" range.
Then I felt a different bite - this one slammed the Marsh Works jig and started stripping drag.  When I felt the surge of the rod and the constant dead weight feel, I knew it could be only one thing - a ray.  I had hooked this one in the middle of the prime fishing hole and was smack dab in the middle of both Darren and Dan's lines.  I steered him clear of their lines, and Dan confirmed my thoughts when he sighted the shape in the water....."Yep, it's a ray and a good one!".  I managed to work the him over towards the shore just in time for my son to see him.  As if on cue, the ray made an immediate u-turn and surged back to the deep hole and freed himself from the hook.  Alas, no photo, but still an awesome fight and even better that my son was there to see it.

Oh well, back to the fishing.  A few more casts and a different strike was felt this time - a lot lighter but still a quick hard hit.  Only a croaker, not photo worthy.  He measured a scant 7" and was released to live and fight another day.  A couple more casts and another strike only this one didn't fight at all.  In fact, it almost felt like I didn't have anything on at all until the retrieve was almost complete - an undersized striper.

Wow - five species in under two hours.  How cool is that?  All from the same spot.  I went back to my fishing while my son continued to play in the shallows and hooked into another nice little speck measuring it at a shade over 14".

A few more casts and I landed my last fish of the day - another rat red, but this one was a new first for me as well.  A red with multiple spots on it's tail.
With the storm now clearly visible on the horizon, we decided to head back.  I re-launched our kayaks and told my son to just go with the wind and head back.  I would be right behind him.  The wind had created a little bit of a chill, and my son was getting cold, so he was all too eager to get back to the launch and change into his dry clothes that were most certainly warmer than the ones he was currently wearing.
Although it was a short outing due to weather conditions, I believe we made the most of it.  We managed to spend time together, did some fishing, and introduced my son to two of my kayak fishing friends.  I appreciated Darren helping me launch and recover my son today.  It always helps when you have friends like that.  I left that location wanting more and knowing that I would soon return for another taste of what it had to offer. 

Tight lines, be safe and don't mess around with Mother Nature!


  1. Nice report, Good Times!

    Can't wait to get my son out there...


    1. Thanks Joe!! We should make it a family outing!! If the water is going to be a little rough next time, I told my son we would just use my Revo and he could ride in the tankwell like he did a few weeks ago at Ft. Monroe.

  2. Good report Chuck! Give your son a pat on the back for me. He's a trooper! I remember doing the same thing with my Dad in Northern Wisconsin's trophy musky waters. Memories your son will never forget!

  3. Thanks Richie - he complained a little at first with the cold chill but as soon as we got home, he asked when we could go again.